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Akaroa - Dolphin Swim - Black Cat Cruises

The only place on the planet, where you can get close to the world's smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector's Dolphin. Simply rare and unique.


  • Swim with playful Hector's Dolphins in the Akaroa Harbour
  • Rated as one of the ‘Top 10 Marine Mammal Experiences in The World’ by Lonely Planet!
  • Once in a lifetime experience with the world's smallest and rarest dolphin
  • Complimentary refreshments onboard

Swimming with Dolphins - Akaroa, watch the video above!

Akaroa Harbour is the only place on the planet where you can get close to the world's smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector's Dolphin!

These magnificent creatures have made their home base in Akaroa, a stunning French inspired sea-side village just a 90 minute scenic drive from Christchurch. The name Akaroa means "long harbour". Join Black Cat Cruises for an unforgettable journey where you’ll get the once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with these dolphins inside the naturally protected harbour, not out in the open seas.

Black Cat Cruises are a supreme tourism award winning company with an excellent safety track record and a portion of every ticket sold goes towards the conservation of the Hector's dolphin. We only allow 12 swimmers in the water at one time allowing greater opportunity for one on one interaction with the dolphins.

Success Rate:

We have a high success rate for swimming with these dolphins, but they are wild dolphins, so seeing them is a great privilege.

The great thing about viewing or swimming with dolphins is that you are doing it in their natural habitat completely on their terms, and so of course we cannot absolutely "guarantee" dolphins on every single trip, and nor can any other operator. Sometimes dolphins may have calves with them, or are feeding, mating or just resting. It's important for us not to interact with dolphins when they don't want to.

But you may be interested to know that in the last 12 months we saw dolphins on 98% of our cruises and had successful swims on 81% of our swim trips. So you have to be a bit unlucky to miss out! In the unlikely event you don’t see any dolphins (average 3% of cruises) then we give you a refund of 50%. If the dolphins don’t want to interact with swimmers (average 17% of cruises) then we give you a 25% refund.

Adult $199.00 (16+ years)
Child $165.00 (8 - 15 years)

What's included

  • Our facilities here on the Main Wharf Akaroa include Briefing Area, spacious and heated Changing Rooms with Hot Showers and Lockers for valuables.
  • Excellent quality wetsuits that are 5mm in thickness.
  • Masks.
  • Hot Chocolate and biscuits on board!


  • Allow approximately 3 hours for the whole experience


  • Akaroa Main Wharf, Akaroa, 7520


  • All swimmers MUST be confident in open Harbour/Sea conditions as the Akaroa Harbour where you will be swimming is between 15 and 30 metres deep.

    All swimmers must be able to swim a minimum of 50 metres unaided as life jackets are not provided as your swimming ability and confidence must be of the standard that you do not require a Life Jacket.

    Children are required to be a minimum of 8 years old to swim with dolphins.

    Children aged 8-12 years must be accompanied by an adult swimmer.

Child Friendly

  • This experience welcomes families with children.

Bad Weather Refunds

  • If your experience is cancelled by the operator (because of the weather or anything else out of your control) you will be entitled to a full refund.


  • Duration: Allow approximately 3 hours for the whole experience, this includes half-hour prior for briefing and getting changed into wetsuits at our facilities. 2 hours out on the water which includes travel time prior and post-swim.

Available Bookings from December 01 to December 07

Change Dates

All prices are shown in NZD ($)

Wed 1 Dec
Thu 2 Dec
Fri 3 Dec
Sat 4 Dec
Sun 5 Dec
Mon 6 Dec
Tue 7 Dec

  • Adult$99.50 Less than 6 at this price!
  • Child$99.00

  • Adult$99.50 Less than 6 at this price!
  • Child$165.00

  • Adult$119.00 Less than 6 at this price!
  • Child$165.00

  • Adult$99.50 Less than 6 at this price!
  • Child$99.00

Authenticated Reviews & PhotosAll of our reviews are from people who have booked and paid for this activity thru Bookme

Authenticated Reviews & PhotosAll of our reviews are from people who have booked and paid for this activity thru Bookme


197 reviews

Showing all 197 authenticated Bookme reviews

Cody MacDonald from New Zealand wrote on 09 February 2021

Akaroa Dolphins

Amazing! Service was great. Attached photos for glimpse of experience

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rabbit99 from South Korea wrote on 23 March 2021

사랑스러운 돌고래와 수영하기!!

오픈 워터라길래 좀 긴장했는데 웻수트 덕에 그냥 균형만 잘잡으면 떠있을수 있어요 하지만 아무리 잘 버텨도 바닷물 먹는건 각오해야함 고프로 가져가서 수중촬영 꼭 하세요 수면위로는 생각보다 가까이 안오는거 같은데 나모르게(?) 발밑에 지나가고 그랬더라두요 깜찍이덜 직원분들이 배에서 계속 돌고래 위치 지켜봐주고 사진도 무료로 촬영해서 이메일로 보내줍니다 돌아가는길에 핫초코도 주고요 특별한 경험 하고 싶다면 강력 추천!!

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Grace Aberhart-North from New Zealand wrote on 20 February 2021

Absolutely incredible

We had an amazing day. The wetsuits were incredibly buoyant which definitely made us feel comfortable in the water Staff were great and had amazing local knowledge. Had an amazing time, would recommend in a heartbeat !! 5stars!

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Freya Watkinson from New Zealand wrote on 15 November 2021

Amazing day out

Must do this summer!! Great crew and amazing day out. Beyong expectations and only a short drive from Christchurch! Easily one of the coolest things we have done in NZ, and one of the best wildlife experiences we have had in the world. Make sure you get out and do this summer!!!! Thanks team for an experience we will never forget :)

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Martin from New Zealand wrote on 12 November 2021

Great experience

Definitely recommended!

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10:00 a.m.Thursday 13 July

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Adult 16+ years

    Child 8 - 15 years

      *This option must be made together with another price type.

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